Estes - Gauchito {Kit}

Contributed by Brian Ray

Diameter: 1.00 inches
Length: 8.60 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Scale

(MODS) Estes GauchitoBrief:
This modification was my own personal response to what I had seen as an all-too-common statement on model rocket forums: add nose weight. It seemed to me that no matter the situation, the clarion call was for more and more nose weight. "Hey, I painted this rocket blue instead of yellow." "You better add some nose weight." While not usually a kit builder, I found this kit on clearance and decided to prove my point (to myself, of course).

The build was straightforward once I created the centering rings. I did so in MS Publisher after having measured the inside diameter of the body tube. I printed the rings and glued them to cereal-box-weight cardboard. Engine retention is friction fit. The other significant modification was using a streamer instead of the parachute--I knew it was going high and I didn't want it floating away.

I opted to change the finish slightly as well. Having lived in Brazil for a few years, I couldn't bear to put the Argentine flag on anything. I printed my own Brazil flag decal, painted the fins Brazil's colors, and renamed it the Vaqueiro (Portuguese for 'cowboy').

I used:

  • 1 Estes Gauchito kit
  • 1 BT-20, 2.75"
  • 1 BT-20 engine block
  • 1 set of centering rings
  • 2 streamers

Flight and Recovery:
This rocket has flown twice, both times on a C6-5. As I predicted, each flight was excellent; very straight and very high. Recovery has been just a tad rough--it came down very quickly under the streamer and popped a fin each time. It was easily repaired, however.

This was a fun little rocket to build and fly. It really moves fast off the pad and flies really high, if you like that in your rockets. While I understand that some designs do necessitate nose weight, this example shows that it's not always needed. I really don't think this mod has any cons. For some, however, making your own centering rings or adapting the ones that came with the kit may not be something they want to do. Also, some may not enjoy the potential walk that comes with recovering a rocket that flies as high as this one. I for one, like the altitude and can use the exercise. And if I stumble on another one of these kits I am going to modify it for 24mm engines.



B.A. (March 8, 2006)
This is a neat little rocket that flies well, especially on the mini motors. I almost always launch this one first, to give me an idea of how the winds are up off the ground. I was really surprised at how nice it is.
G.O.D. (May 27, 2008)
The "Gauchito" is a very accurate reproduction of the concept-rocket designed by DeLeon Technologies for the XPrize contest.- It?s a legacy design, derived from the battered "Little Joe", the rocket designed to test the escape systems for Mercury and Apollo projects.- I have this model, (as a gift from the designer, Mr. Pablo DeLeon) and I'm very proud of it!!!
R.J.K. (October 2, 2008)
I bought the Gauchito since it looked rather interesting, a bit like a Little Joe. After purchasing it I also had a contest I was running in Florida for Future Sport Scale, an event where you model and fly a real rocket design that has yet to actually be built and flown. I needed a quick entry for the event so built the Gauchito as my entry. The model was a straight forward build and relatively simple. But since I was going to use it in the contest and it was to be judged for static points I modified the plug in engine nozzles to be permanent in the rocket. This primarily required that I cut away a bit of each nozzle where they would interfere with the mini-engine used to fly it. It did make for a rather tight engine fit but added some points for static judging. It flew fine, as a simple rocket like this should, in the contest. A couple of years later I also used it in a contest in Orlando for spot landing. Being small but low powered it was ideal for such an event, provided the spot was not too far away. It actually took first at the contest!
D.S. (January 9, 2009)
Anyone have any idea what size body tube this is? It's between BT-56 and BT-60. Could it be BT-58, as sized here?

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